Wen-Ge WG Wang


A main problem, which is met when computing the energy transfer of or work done by a quantum system, comes from the fact that the system may lie in states with coherence in its energy eigenstates. As is well known, when the so-called environment-induced decoherence has happened with respect to a preferred basis given by the energy basis, no coherence exists among the energy basis and the energy change of the system can be computed in a definite way. I argue that one may make use of this property, in the search for an appropriate definition of quantum work for a total system that does not include any measuring apparatus. To show how this idea may work, in this paper, I study decoherence properties of a generic slowly driven system, which is weakly coupled to a huge environment whose main body is a complex quantum system. It is shown that decoherence may generically happen for such a system.